I am in the middle of moving my site and am still working out the kinks.  

I found that in its old form I couldn’t automatically have my recipes sorted or placed in one spot.  This was so frustrating.  So, this platform will allow it and it (so far) seems to be fairly easy (for some).  Hopefully it works.  

Please hang in while I do this in my spare (ha ha) time!



My Kids were in this video demanding a change


My Kids were in this video demanding a change

Opening the World (of Food) to Kids

In our elementary school the third grade students’ social studies section has them learning about other countries.  How one teacher does this can differ slightly (while still sticking within the curriculum) from other teachers.  My middle son is lucky enough to have the same teacher my eldest son had two years ago.  Each month the students in her class learn about a different country: its geography, political system, some history, language(s), culture, etc. image She chooses the countries based on family involvement.  Parents, grandparents, nannies, etc will come in and share stories, photos, personal experiences, songs, etc.  And at the end of each month she has a “Day in ____” with the kids dressing up in that country’s traditional clothes, sports shirts, colors of its flag, or something else representative  of it.  imageThis year as in two years ago, the teacher has me organize parents to bring in food and drinks for the students to taste.  It’s a great way for them to learn about the countries and cultures and also get them to try something new. image

Every child in the class must taste each item (we take into consideration allergies before comprising the list of foods) regardless of whether they think they like it.  They don’t have to finish it, just taste it.  And the teacher tastes with them… even her least favorite foods (fish/seafood).   (She was not too fond of the pickled herring for Sweden)  Then she has different kids describe what they taste – salty, savory, mild, strong, tart, bitter, spicy, etc.  She’ll ask them what it reminds them of; what is the texture like; would they eat it again if given the chance; and other questions that get them thinking.  The child who brought in the item gets to tell the class what it’s made of, if they know, or where they bought it (in the case of soft drinks, candies, etc).   Manners/eating customs can be relevant too.  Last month they had a Day in the UK where they were instructed on how to sit, use their napkin, stir their tea.image 

There is no rushing through the food.  They take quite a long time analyzing each item.  Some months there are a ton of foods to try.  Whereas some months can be lean—like October when Hurricane Sandy interrupted our lives and hampered many people’s ability to cook.   Some months the food is similar to what we already eat daily (UK, Italy, Germany).  I’m really excited to learn about Namibia and its food in a couple of months.  My eldest had Madagascar as his most exotic location, which taught us parents a few things too.

One of my favorite outcomes of the tastings is that it really opens up new possibilities for picky eaters.  Because everyone must taste every item and the teacher makes her preferences known it works well for those who’d never eat those types of foods at home or in the cafeteria.  I have seen the fussiest eaters pleasantly surprised at their new found love of different foods and actually trying something they previously would have steered clear of.imageimage

Since I organize it each month, I try to make sure they’re not overloaded in desserts and candies.  I give suggestions on foods and provide links to recipes too. And when the parents who volunteer come in and see for themselves what the children are doing/learning, they have a new appreciation of their child’s teacher and school.  Plus they may have a new dish to add to their rotation.  It’s gotten me to experiment with recipes I’d never heard of or would have felt intimidated to attempt before.   It’s opened up the world to all of us. 


This was published on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution site

If you’d like to help SHES students

A friend and I started a coat & backpack drive for the students who had to leave behind their belongs on that terrible day last week.  One SHES mother asked what were the kids to do, they had to leave coats and backpacks and can’t get them back.  They’ll be going to a new school soon and so they need these things. And it’s winter.

If you would like to donate a new coat/backpack for school aged children 5-10 years old (can be for a girl, boy or unisex) we will match them up with appropriate children. There are two moms in Sandy Hook I am coordinating this with. 

Also Land’s End is hopefully donating but for now is promising free express shipping for the drive.  

If you would like to donate, please message me. 


My friend and I went for a walk before sitting down to watch the Anderson Cooper Live show that I attended last week.  The cast of the Hobbit were the guests and my friend Abby was selected to ask Richard Armitage a question.  But instead of watching a fun time we were interrupted during our walk by my brother calling me from California to ask “How close is Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown to you…  Next town over. My friend Amy’s children were there before they moved to Los Osos, California in July… there’s been a shooting… a shooting?!”

Then we grab our iphones and start searching for news.  Told the police were on lookout for a purple/maroon van with possible suspects heading our way.  Call the school— since we found out there was no lockdown, no police presence (which changed)  Told 2 people shot then as news comes in 4 people shot.  We got to my house sat down and news coverage was tuned in to the story.  Misinformation of course gave us wrong person for a while but the most shocking was the numbers.  

27 people dead.  So many children.  We just broke down sobbing.  It’s right next door, just miles away, we know people there with children in the school.  It could have been our children.  It is just so fucking insane and senseless.  

The gunman entered the classes and shot 5-6-7 year old children.  My son is in kindergarten with a boy who would’ve gone to that school but his mom is a teacher in our town and can send him to our school.  How lucky she must feel for that choice.  How horrible it is for so many families in Newtown.  A friend of a friend had not heard as of 5 pm about her first grade son, but it now seems that the worst is the reality. 

This day forever changed so many lives.  I am so saddened and sorry for the families in Sandy Hook.  My heart goes out to all the families. 

And we have heard that the friend’s son was killed.  So horrible. I feel for the family.  

For the first time I’m happy my friend and her family moved.  Her daughter had 10 friends killed.  Amy knew several teachers and the principal. It’s just tragic.

Let Them Help, It’ll Help Them (revised)

You will often find, “Cook with them” or “Let them help in the kitchen” high up on the list of suggestions on how to get kids to eat healthier foods. I agree.imageimage I do sometimes see parents or even teachers letting the kids help when it comes to making cookies or baking a cake, but it’s not as often that I notice them help make a healthier meal or a salad.  I do think it’s good to get them involved in helping prepare many different foods so they learn more about them and may be more interested in eating that food they had a hand in.  I’m not saying my kids help me on a daily basis but they do love to help and do it often enough that they feel involved and interested.  They do seem more enthusiastic about the meal and even more eager to try it because they’re proud of their contribution. I also may go further than some would ever consider at my sons’ ages; like letting them use knives.  image

They need to learn; so who better to teach them and what safer place than at home?  It took a while for my husband to let my eldest son use a chef’s knife, but even he relaxed a bit and realized we needed to show him how to handle it properly and to position his fingers that hold whatever he’s cutting.  Now they all help.  My eldest isn’t very coordinated but he’s doing a fine job and loves to feel empowered with the trust we’ve given him. imageSince he was 8 years old he was confident enough to fix himself sandwiches and other quick meals when he is hungry.  We even gave my youngest  a steak knife at the dinner table since he was 4.  I feel it’s safer to give a sharp knife than a dull one.  Again, as long as they’re supervised and shown the proper way to handle the knives, they should be fine and it should be good for their confidence. 

Recently in my son’s kindergarten class my husband and I were showing the kids how to use knives so they could help make “Stone Soup”.  One parent seemed shocked that I let my children use knives (under supervision).  She said she’d never get hers to do that or help much besides baking.  Granted she has triplets so it’s trickier and they’re all young. I suggested she might try working one at a time as a special Mommy and son time that they’d all get their turn at her attention and learn… but I’m not a mom of triplets, so I really don’t have a right to say/judge. (It’s a family trait— giving unsolicted advice.)

So, get them involved in food preparation, even teach them how to use knives— they’ll be better off for it all!  And before you know it, they might create a great meal for you!  And you might be surprised in the foods they’re more likely to eat when they have a hand in the preparation. image